Support needed for race

Published 7:48 pm Saturday, March 17, 2012

Training for a half-marathon already is challenging, but it is especially difficult when your body has a painful disease.

When you’re trying to raise awareness and funding to fight the disease, it can be a little easier to find motivation. However, attempting to raise money during a still-lagging economy can be tough.

Jessica Paschall, a 22-year-old Suffolk woman, is attempting to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation by running in the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon in June.

Paschall has ulcerative colitis, which is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes symptoms including severe abdominal pain. When she was first diagnosed, the flare-up was so serious that she had to take a medical withdrawal from college.

Although now back in college and about to graduate, she takes a dozen or more pills each day just to keep her condition under control.

As bad as Crohn’s disease and colitis are physically, there are mental ramifications as well. Patients live with constant fear of having another flare-up, and it can be an embarrassing disease to talk about because of some of the symptoms.

But taking charge, as Paschall is doing, is one of the best ways to move toward a cure, both physically and mentally.

To support her, go to active.com/donate/virginia12dc/JPaschall. Corporate sponsorships also are accepted, and any donation more than $1,000 includes a logo on the team’s race jersey.